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Determinants of fruit and vegetable intake in England: a re-examination based on quantile regression

  • Georgios Boukouvalas (a1), Bhavani Shankar (a1) and W Bruce Traill (a1)
Abstract
AbstractObjective

To examine the sociodemographic determinants of fruit and vegetable (F&V) consumption in England and determine the differential effects of socio-economic variables at various parts of the intake distribution, with a special focus on severely inadequate intakes.

Design

Quantile regression, expressing F&V intake as a function of sociodemographic variables, is employed. Here, quantile regression flexibly allows variables such as ethnicity to exert effects on F&V intake that vary depending on existing levels of intake.

Setting

The 2003 Health Survey of England.

Subjects

Data were from 11 044 adult individuals.

Results

The influence of particular sociodemographic variables is found to vary significantly across the intake distribution. We conclude that women consume more F&V than men; Asians and blacks more than whites; co-habiting individuals more than single-living ones. Increased incomes and education also boost intake. However, the key general finding of the present study is that the influence of most variables is relatively weak in the area of greatest concern, i.e. among those with the most inadequate intakes in any reference group.

Conclusions

Our findings emphasise the importance of allowing the effects of socio-economic drivers to vary across the intake distribution. The main finding, that variables which exert significant influence on F&V intake at other parts of the conditional distribution have a relatively weak influence at the lower tail, is cause for concern. It implies that in any defined group, those consuming the least F&V are hard to influence using campaigns or policy levers.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email b.shankar@reading.ac.uk
Linked references
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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

2. S Leather (1995) Fruit and vegetables: consumption patterns and health consequences. Br Food J 97, 1017.

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Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
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